Just like the flu, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), is an illness that affects people most often from October through April each year.
Individuals with RSV will likely experience symptoms similar to the common cold, such as sore throat, cough and a runny nose.
For most healthy adults and children, a bout with RSV will be mild if any symptoms are present at all; however, for more vulnerable groups such as babies, the immunocompromised and certain individuals over 60 years old, the virus can be more severe, resulting in hospitalization, pneumonia, bronchitis or even death.
In fact, it’s the leading reason that babies are hospitalized in the United States.
A breakdown of the newly approved options for each group is below.
Older adults, age 60 and older
UTMB Health will stock the Pfizer RSV vaccine (Abrysvo) for use in adults age 60 and older. Eligible adults may receive a single dose of RSV vaccine using shared clinical decision-making. Coverage for this vaccine may vary among various health insurance plans. The RSV vaccines should be administered as single dose during the RSV winter season, which is October through February in our region.
Children 19 months old and younger in their first RSV season
There are two options available for this group – one being a vaccine that’s delivered to the pregnant parent during the third trimester and another that’s a monoclonal antibody injection open to certain children 19 months old and younger.
Please see the table below for specific guidelines and criteria for eligibility.
Vaccination of pregnant women with the Pfizer RSV vaccine
Pregnant women may be vaccinated with Abrysvo at 32 to 36 weeks of gestation, which allows for transfer of RSV immunity to the fetus for protection through first RSV season after birth. The vaccine should be given September through January.
Nirsevimab (Beyfortus) is a monoclonal antibody immunization recommended for all infants younger than 8 months of age who are born during—or who are entering—their first RSV season.
Except in rare circumstances, most infants younger than 8 months of age do not need nirsevimab if they were born 14 or more days after their mother got RSV vaccine.
Nirsevimab is also recommended for some children age 8 months through 19 months who are at increased risk for severe RSV disease and are entering their second RSV season.
How do I know what’s right for me
Individuals who fall into these respective groups need to work with their care teams to determine if the newly approved options are right for them. Additionally, care providers can direct individuals regarding where to find the immunizations they need.
What will these immunizations cost
Nirsevimab is expected to be covered for uninsured, self-pay, and Medicaid-insured children through the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program Commercial insurance plans may cover these injections, as well; however, talk with your health care provider and plan provider about your specific situation.
What to do next
If you’re interested in receiving an RSV immunization, reach out to your primary care provider and see what options, if any, are available and right for you.
For more information about these options and RSV, talk to your doctor or visit the CDC’s webpage on RSV.